GP Provision Update
- Meeting of Communities, Housing and Environment Committee, Tuesday 16th April, 2019 6.30 pm (Item 212.)
- View the background to item 212.
Mrs Alison Broom, Chief Executive, introduced Dr Tony Jones, Ms Gail Arnold and Ms Alison Burchell to the Committee. Mrs Broom stated that a workshop had taken place on 25 February 2019. At the workshop, Members had raised concerns about the infrastructure and staffing for General Practitioner (GP) provision. Additionally, the issue of historical Section 106 (S106) agreements had been debated. This issue had been considered in further detail with the Chairman of the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation (SPST) Committee.
In response to questions from the Committee, Officers stated that:
· Changes to GP Practice staffing had been implemented in line with the NHS 10 Year Plan. This was expected to increase the capacity available for managing complex issues.
· The NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had taken positive steps to implement the high impact recommendations in the NHS England Time to Care Scheme. These changes were expected to have a positive impact on staffing capacity.
· CCGs monitored risks to continuity of service, such as closures of GP Practices. Conversations between the CCG and GP Practices were undertaken to promote resilience and sustainability.
· The potential links between areas of deprivation and issues with recruitment and retention at GP Practices had not been researched at a local level.
· The development of new houses resulted in an increased need for GP Practices. This meant that available business space needed to be maximised, while appropriate recruitment also needed to be undertaken.
· It was important to promote Maidstone as an attractive place to live and work. This encouraged people to move to the area and deliver services required by residents.
· Maidstone Borough Council worked closely with other organisations to ensure that projects to expand GP Practices and deliver infrastructure were completed in a collaborative and effective manner.
· Maidstone Borough Council had worked with the West Kent CCG to support the allocation and use of S106 monies. There were, however, challenges when spending this funding. Firstly, the money was only to be spent on improving the capacity of health facilities in order to meet the needs of a population. Secondly, S106 funding was made available to the CCG at agreed milestones. Projects could therefore not be commenced until the S106 monies had been released to the CCG. Finally, S106 funding was considered to be a capital contribution. This meant that there were restrictions on how the money could be spent and often required match-funding from GPs or other property owners.
· In some instances, S106 money was pooled to enable large scale extensions.
· The local media could share information and raise awareness about how to appropriately use services. This could include information regarding social prescribing, to ensure that professionals and residents had a common understanding of this and the potential it had to improve health.
Mrs Broom stated that the queries and suggestions were to be collated and submitted to the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee in 2019/20 to ensure that dialogue on key issues continued.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
Note: Councillor Purle arrived at 6.45 p.m. during consideration of this item.